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Archive for July, 2016

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WRITE TO DIE, Charles Rosenberg’s blockbuster legal thriller is set against the backdrop of Hollywood’s entertainment industry, and marks the debut of a new series. Write to Die introduces protagonist Rory Calburton, a former Deputy DA turned entertainment lawyer who is swept up in the trial of a lifetime when murder hits the heart of the movie business.

A sensational tale informed by Charles Rosenberg’s decades-long legal career, Write to Die sizzles. With its seemingly ripped-from-the-headlines storyline, exhilarating plot, and pulse-pounding action, Write to Die heralds the advent of an outstanding new mystery series. Resplendent with realistic courtroom drama, richly drawn characters that spring to life within the novel’s pages, and an insider’s view of the inner workings of Hollywood, Write to Die is to die for.

About Write to Die

Hollywood’s latest blockbuster is all set to premiere—until a faded superstar claims the script was stolen from her. To defend the studio, in steps the Harold Firm, one of Los Angeles’s top entertainment litigation firms and as much a part of the glamorous scene as the studios themselves. As a newly minted partner, it’s Rory Calburton’s case, and his career, to win or lose. But the seemingly tame civil trial turns lethal when Rory stumbles upon the strangled body of his client’s general counsel. And the ties that bind in Hollywood constrict even tighter when the founder of the Harold Firm is implicated in the murder. Rory is certain the plagiarism and murder cases are somehow connected, and with the help of new associate Sarah Gold—who’s just finished clerking for the chief justice—he’s determined to get answers. Will finding out who really wrote the script lead them to the mastermind of the real-life murder?

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About Charles Rosenberg

Charles (“Chuck”) Rosenberg is a Harvard Law School-trained lawyer who has been a partner in a large, international law firm and, simultaneously, an adjunct law professor who has taught numerous law school courses, from copyright to criminal procedure. He received his undergraduate degree from Antioch College and has served as the credited legal script consultant to TV’s The Paper Chase, L.A Law, The Practice and Boston Legal, a full-time on-air legal analyst for E! Television’s O. J. Simpson criminal and civil trial coverage, and a former board member of the Taos Film Festival. He is author of the bestselling Robert Tarza legal-thriller trilogy: Death on a High Floor, Long Knives and Paris Ransom, and The Trial of O.J.: How to Watch the Trial and Understand What’s Really Going On, a trial watcher’s guide to the O.J. Simpson trial. Chuck practices law in the Los Angeles area, where he lives with his wife. He is currently at work on the second book in the To Die series. Visit www.charlesrosenbergauthor.com for more information.

Publication Date:  July 26, 2016

Category:   Mystery/Thriller

Formats:  Trade Paper, ISBN:  978- 1503937611, $15.95,  Kindle, $3.99

Page Count:   498 (approximately)

Publisher:   Thomas & Mercer

Publicity Contact:  Maryglenn McCombs  (615) 297-9875  maryglenn@maryglenn.com

 

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Inside the Book:

The Golden Age of Charli
Title: The Golden Age of Charli
Author: Jena C. Henry
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Fiction
Format: Ebook/Paperback

Charlotte McAntic spent her thirties, forties, and even fifties in peace and harmony aligning her marriage, mortgage, careers, and children. As she stumbles into a new phase of life—also known as the Golden Years—Charli cannot help but wonder where the gold and her husband, Pud, are hiding.

Pud is happily cruising down the retirement path that, for him, leads straight to the golf course. While Charli spends her days at home cleaning out closets and the basement, she yearns to gaze deeply into Pud’s blue eyes and remember all the reasons why she fell in love with him thirty years ago. Unfortunately, the only thing Pud is eying is the next fairway. Knowing there is more to savor in retirement than silver-hair shampoos, senior discounts, and hernia surgery, Charli embarks on a quest to do whatever it takes to spend retirement in the embrace of the man she loves. But is it too late for happily ever after?

In this humorous novel, a high-energy wife and her solid guy must learn to adjust to a new chapter in their lives and find their way back into each other’s hearts after their retirement begins with a jolt.

 

Guest Post


A sunny day, saddle shoes, a group of bubbly kids on a school playground- do you remember jumping rope during recess? Two kids twirled the long clothesline rope as the girl who was poised and ready to jump in held her arms chest high and bobbed to the beat of the swishing rope. As she bounced in and jumped we all started to chant:
Billy and Susie sittin’ in a tree,
K-I-S-S-I-N-G!
First comes love,
Then comes marriage,
Then comes Susie pushing the baby carriage.
If you remember that skipping rhyme, then you are like me and we both acquired our roadmap for life in the third grade. Like the directions on a GPS, we started on our journey with a boyfriend and K-I-S-S-I-N-G. At our first stop we found Love, a little further on the road of life we entered Marriage, and far off on the horizon we could see the Baby Carriage. The road was straight, wide open, no chance we could get lost.
And that’s how life unfolded for me. What about you? I enjoyed it all except the road trip went by too fast. The Baby Carriage was left behind miles ago. What’s next? The grade school jumping jingle didn’t plot the land beyond parenthood. The song ended and I kept on rolling down the road.
What is this uncharted area on our life road map called R-E-T-I-R-E-M-E-N-T? We didn’t sing about the R word on the playground. That’s what I was thinking about when I decided to write a novel. In my first book in a planned series, The Golden Age of Charli-RSVP, we meet Charlotte, known to family and friends as Charli. She has spent thirty years in peace and harmony with her solid husband. Then Charli and Pud jolt into retirement- what happens next?
Who was this stranger in my house? I’d had high hopes that when we retired, we would have fun together. But what exactly should we do? Just take it easy and binge watch multiple TV seasons? I didn’t seriously expect that we would spend dreamy hours of bliss in twin hot tubs sighing at the ocean view, but I did crave some romance now that we had time together after the busy years.
(The Golden Age of Charli- RSVP) 
Charli embarks on a quest to do whatever it takes to spend retirement in the embrace of the man she loves. But is it too late for happily ever after? Come stroll with Charli as she laughs and tells you all about life and love in retirement.

Meet the Author:

 

Jena C. Henry holds a juris doctor degree from the University of Akron, presents writing workshops, and loves good times with friends. Now retired, Jena and her husband, Alan, live in tropical Ohio where they enjoy their two adult children and extended family, friends, and darling dog. This is the first book in The Golden Age of Charli series.

 

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About the Book:

 

Title:
Shadows of an Empress
Author: Carole Waterhouse
Publisher: Anaphora Literary Press
Pages: 310
Genre: Literary Fiction
After the death of her mother, Sylvia is sent to live with her grandmother on an isolated piece of farmland, where she and a nymph-like companion run through the woods creating an imaginary world where her mother is still alive. When Sylvia marries Dan, everyone sees her life moving from tragic to fairy tale. But when a recurring
dream about a city she can’t identify leaves Sylvia feeling especially unsettled, she goes into her living room on a sleepless night and finds the Empress Elisabeth of Austria waiting for her.
Suspecting their lives are somehow linked, the empress helps Sylvia sort through her past and question her present. She and Sissi, Elisabeth’s younger version, embark on a whirlwind tour of places related to the empress’s past where the Archduchess Sophie tries to arrange a courtship between Sylvia and Franz Joseph, a heart-broken Heinrich Heine laments the empress’s tendency to credit him as the inspiration for her awful poetry, and Sigmund Freud offers commentary on their journey. As they travel, Sylvia becomes more aware of the empress’s faults. As their paths begin to separate, Sylvia learns from Elisabeth’s mistakes and comes to realize that the answers she has been
searching for need to come from within. In a mock ceremony in Vienna, Sylvia is crowned the empress of herself and returns home to start a new life with Dan. She understands then that the city she has been haunted by all this
time is the life the two of them built, the one they are finally ready to enter together.
Shadows of an Empress is available at Amazon.

Book Excerpt:

Chapter 1
2002
Sylvia turned up the radios in all three rooms—the kitchen, the
bedroom, the workshop—the different locations making it sound as though there
were three people talking, one an echo of the other. Still, it was his voice surrounding her
completely, a sound that always gave her comfort. Dan, Dan, the music man. Her husband never realized the most intimate
words he ever spoke to her had nothing to do with love.
The radios were turned up so high, she wondered
how far his voice actually carried, for miles maybe, certainly as far as Zoe’s
house. She came down once, laughing,
turning them off, one after the other, diminishing the last to a faint
whisper. “Why do you make him shout
so?”
When Sylvia told her the reason, that she loved
surrounding herself with the sound of his voice, wanted not to just listen but
to be able to feel it in her bones, Zoe stopped and looked at her. “Don’t tell me after all these years you’re
still in love.”
Sylvia could hear the envy in her voice. She suspected that Zoe, too, listened to
Dan’s voice, knew what it was like to have it pulsate through her veins.
Dan, Dan
the Music
Man.
They had laughed at the name he was given, the
repetition meant to sound lyrical, like one of the tunes circling in his
head. Neither of them had ever expected
that a radio show about music boxes would become nationally syndicated, even in
a niche area like NPR. He was a celebrity
in some circles, even if most people had no idea who he was. Zoe called him the most famous man no one had
ever heard of, and, given the way Dan laughed when she said it, Sylvia wished
it had been her comment instead.
“Music boxes can change lives. There’s no doubt. I’ve witnessed it many times.”
It was the voice she listened to more than the
words, although she sometimes felt his comments were a secret code meant only
for her. At the moment he was describing
one of their own antiques, a real treasure they had acquired just a few weeks
ago, the one Dan called the music box of his dreams.
It was actually a large automaton with rows of
horses that would race across the front as the music played, the device
designed so that the winning horse was randomly selected. She knew why he
prized it, that it wasn’t just the box itself, as exquisite as it was, but the
way it represented their lives together, fitting in perfectly with the
Victorian farmhouse, the real horses she loved so, a true home where husband
and friend were never far away.
About the Author
A professor of creative writing at California University of Pennsylvania, Carole Waterhouse has an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Pittsburgh and a Ph.D. in 20th Century Literature from Ohio University. She’s the author of three novels, Shadows of an Empress, The Tapestry Baby, and Without Wings, as well as a short story
collection, The Paradise Ranch. Her short stories have appeared in an anthology, Horse Crazy: Horses and the
Women who Love Them,
and numerous literary magazines, including The Massachusetts Review, The Artful Dodge,
The Ball State University Forum, Crack the Spine, Blue Lake Review, Ceilidh, Eureka Literary Magazine, Crossconnect, Spout,
The Styles, Turnrow, Half Tones to Jubilee, Potpourri, The Baybury Review, Arnazella, Parting Gifts, Pointed Circle, Seems, The Rockhurst Review, Oracle, and The Griffin. She has reviewed books
for The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, The Pittsburgh Press and The New York Times Book Review.
For More Information

Giveaway

Carole Waterhouse is giving away an
autographed copy of THE TAPESTRY BABY!

Terms &
Conditions:
  • By entering
    the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner
    will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one autographed copy of The
    Tapestry Baby
    by Carole Waterhouse
  • This
    giveaway begins July 5 and ends on July 29.
  • Winners
    will be contacted via email on July 30.
  • Winner has
    48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Lynn Steward, a veteran of the New York fashion industry and a buyer on the team that started the women’s department at Brooks Brothers, created the Dana McGarry series, set at a transformational time in the 1970s world of fashion and in the lives of multigenerational women. What Might Have Been is the second volume in the series. A Very Good Life, Steward’s debut novel, was published in March 2014.

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, What Might Have Been. What was your inspiration for it?

A: I always enjoyed business-related writing and thought a non-fiction self-help book, with life-lessons I learned along the way, would be a fun project.  But, as often happens when you put yourself out there, I discovered another path and took it: I developed a TV pilot about New York in the seventies because, as they say “Write what you know” and I know New York. I’m a native of Long Island, and between attending school and working, I spent twenty-two years in Manhattan. I was so overwhelmed with ideas, the TV series expanded to five seasons! Appropriately placed in the New York City of 1975, which was International Women’s Year, the plots in the series intermingle fashion legends, business icons, real events, and untold stories, providing a behind-the-scenes look at inspirational women in the worlds of art, fashion, and business.

After meeting with professionals in the entertainment industry, I realized that the main character, Dana McGarry, needed more drama and the plots had to be developed, and I felt the best way to do that was to convert the pilot and first season into a novel and A Very Good Life, was published last year. My new novel, What Might Have Been, is based on season two

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist.

A: Dana is underestimated by her soft demeanor but she has fortitude and will stand her ground for what she believes and wants to achieve. She will find a way to reach her goals.

 Q: How was your creative process like during the writing of this book and how long did it take you to complete it? Did you face any bumps along the way?

A: I started developing the TV show approximately four years ago, spending the first year and a half researching historic facts, places, and events from the period, and creating the characters.   I did not have writers block or any bumps along the way. The stories for the five TV seasons/books  just kept writing themselves.  Characters I thought would play an important role, never made it to the page, and others, I least expected, became my favorites.

Q: How do you keep your narrative exciting throughout the creation of a novel?

A:  I again go back to “Write what you know.”  New York City, especially Murray Hill, is home to me.  As a child I was often in Manhattan visiting my grandparents in their Italian neighborhood on 106th St Street. There is so much to draw on when writing about a place or topic that is familiar, or part of your soul. And, of course, my in the fashion industry has provided many personalities, events, and experiences for inspiration.  I lived many years a few blocks from B. Altman, and I was in the store practically every day.  I have great affection and enthusiasm for the real and fictional characters, and the period, and I think that is translated to the page.

Q: Do you experience anxiety before sitting down to write? If yes, how do you handle it?

A: No anxiety at all. I think it helps to be prepared with good research, photos for inspiration, and organized files, readily available when an idea is sparked at the keyboard. I think, no matter your subject, organization is key. Your mind cannot possibly keep everything neatly filed and available when you need it. My iPad has been tremendously helpful for note taking, and I constantly use it in conjunction with my computer.

Q: What is your writing schedule like and how do you balance it with your other work and family time?

A: My favorite time to research and write is early in the morning, preferably around 5:30 a.m., when my mind is clear, it is peaceful, and there are no interruptions. I won’t allow myself to even peek at e-mails, I don’t want anything to distract me for at least three hours. I am always surprised and disappointed how fast that time goes.

Q: How do you define success?

A: Being at peace with one’s self, happy to face a new day.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers whose spouses or partners don’t support their dreams of becoming an author?

A: I believe that may be a problem. I quickly learned that writing becomes an all-consuming passion; you effortlessly and selfishly block out everything and everyone. I enjoy reading author interviews in The Paris Review and I have new insight into the minds and lives of writers. While all are very different people, they share an intensity about the amount of private time they need to think and write. With that being said, I think if you really long to get your story on paper, you will find a way;  structure a routine, a time of day to be alone. Just try to curb your enthusiasm and don’t expect others to care what your favorite character did in the last chapter; trust me, they rather wait to read the book!

Q: George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” Do you agree?

A: Orwell got the driven part right, but I did not have a horrible experience. It is surprisingly exhausting, considering I am seated in one spot for hours and not running a marathon. But, yes, the editing is stressful and tedious; you pull one thread, and everything else falls apart. The passion, however, or as Orwell said, the demon, returns you to the same place the next day.

Q:  Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

A: I have met the most wonderful people on this new journey: kind, helpful, and patient. I have had two high energy careers, and I am enjoying the peaceful world of not only writing, but of writers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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crimsonThe Crimson Calling by Patrick C. Greene is a suspenseful, fast-paced tale featuring a strong, bad ass heroine, and lots of non-stop action. It puts a new spin on vampire lore by combining the old myths with the modern military.

In a world where just a few hundred vampires secretly remain after the eradication of 1666, Olivia–Liv–Irons is a young woman with unusual military talents who is emotionally tortured by the loss of her child and the man she loved. One day, she is a approached by an ancient alluring vampire with a proposition she can’t refuse.

Now, it rests in her hands to save the good vampires–as well as humankind–from a sect of the evil undead who want nothing more than to rule the world on their own terms. Including turning humans into foodbags. But at the heart of this mission, there lies a secret…

Olivia is a lovable character, strong and independent, yet kind and vulnerable, the perfect combination with her bad ass attitude. There is also an array of interesting secondary characters as well as a villainess readers will love to hate. Intense and entertaining fight scenes between the immortals will satisfy fans of the military/vampire fiction sub-genre. Adding to this mix are the alluring forests and rolling hills of Eastern Europe, as well as erotic descriptions of vampire transformation.

Greene has a gritty writing style that doesn’t shy away from the nastier side of things–and language. His combat descriptions are awesome. At the same time, he does a skillful job in getting into the mind of his young and vulnerable protagonist, showing us her doubts and fears with a caring touch. The ending seems to be open to a sequel so I’m definitely looking forward to read more. Entertaining and recommended!

Find out more on Amazon.

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Inside the Book:

Don Quixote Explained
Title: Don Quixote Explained
Author: Emre Gurgen
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Genre: Literary Criticism
Format: Ebook/Paperback

 

Don Quixote Explained focuses on seven topics: how Sancho Panza refines into a good governor through a series of jokes that turn earnest; how Cervantes satirizes religious extremism in Don Quixote by taking aim at the Holy Roman Catholic Church; how Don Quixote and Sancho Panza check-and-balance one another’s excesses by having opposite identities; how Cervantes refines Spanish farm girls by transforming Aldonza Lorenzo into Dulcinea; how outlaws like Roque Guinart and Gines Pasamonte can avoid criminality and why; how Cervantes establishes inter-religional harmony by having a Christian translator, on the one hand, and a Muslim narrator, on the other; and lastly, how Cervantes replaces a medieval view of love and marriage―where a woman is a housekeeper, lust-satisfier, and child begetter―with a modern view of equalitarian marriage typified by a joining of desires and a merger of personalities.

“AN ERUDITE EXAMINATION OF THE THEMES AND IDEAS IN DON QUIXOTE. I THOROUGHLY ENJOYED THE WRITING AND EXPOSITION OF THIS WELL-REASONED CRITIQUE. BUY IT AND STUDY IT. GERALD J. DAVIS, AUTHOR OF DON QUIXOTE, THE NEW TRANSLATION BY GERALD J. DAVIS” WWW.DON-QUIXOTE-EXPLAINED.COM

The Benefits of Agent Representation

Though it is possible to win a contract with a traditional publisher without a literary agent, if you are professionally represented, your chance of securing a book deal greatly increases

If you represent yourself to publishers.  If you eagerly mail unsolicited query letters directly to a publisher the likely outcome is that these houses will place your letter directly in a slush pile, often times unread, never to be looked at again. If you are extremely lucky, however, and somebody does read your letter, this person is usually a novice reader, a student just out of college, who rarely knows what they are doing.  Though, perhaps, intelligent, this person is extremely untested.  Thus, they read your query letter to gain experience.  That’s it.  Nothing less.  Nothing more.

But let’s say, for arguments sake, that this person, though junior, likes your book and tries to help.  You may find that they lack the authority to get you represented.  Even if they bring your query letter to the attention of a more senior editor, this person usually dismisses you, and your book, offhand, in favor of an established author. So you lose anyway.

Though, occasionally, you hear of the strange case of an author winning a contract directly from a publisher against all odds, the probability of this happening is slim to none, since most publishers will not even consider a new book unless it comes from a reputed agent. Getting a book deal without an agent hardly ever happens.  It is the stuff of legends.  Usually, what happens is that publishers want to make fast money on a safe bet. So they go with agent represented manuscripts, even if they are horrible.

Unless publishing houses are desperate for new leads, they will not even consider non-represented manuscripts, despite what they say in their submission guidelines.

Big box publishers, to repeat, rely on literary agents to make wise manuscript choices. Not authors shopping their wares.  This is because publishers generally believe that agents will only pitch a new book to them if it is viable in the marketplace.

Commercial publishing houses, sadly, rarely consider manuscripts from inexperienced writers.  And if the nature of your work does not synergize with their list.  Forget it.  You have no chance.

Furthermore, even if your proposal is a good one, it will probably get lost in the clutter,   since traditional publishers receive tons of junk mail,

Penetrating the old boy network of publishing professionals is very hard, since agents and publishers enjoy reciprocal relationships based on a lengthy track record of success.  Because both sides think they know what is sellable in the marketplace, they pass on many great books.   Mine included.  The cold reality is that many publishers will not even consider manuscripts that do not have an agent, since they want to back a book they think will succeed.  To them, manuscripts that have a chance of success have already been vetted by literary agents.  They have passed an initial screening round.  Most publishers, alas, will only ponder manuscripts forwarded to them by literary agents, because they believe that an agent will not jeopardize their reputations by advocating less than impressive books.

So, if you want to avoid having you query letter go directly to the dreaded slush pile—the final resting place of many novels—I encourage you to get a literary agent.

Yes, you can win a contract directly from a publisher, without agent representation.  But doing so is the exception, rather than the rule.

If you think you can do it, by all means, be my guest.  Congratulations if you do.  But if you receive one rejection after another, as most of us do (or, worse yet, no response at all) try hard to get a literary agent, since agent representation helps.

How to Get a Literary Agent

Query Letter

Gaining and sustaining the interest of a literary agent so they sign a contract with you is easier said than done.  The first step is writing an effective query letter.

Address your query to the right editor or agent with the right title.  Format your query according to industry standards.  Spell the agencies name correctly and get its address right.  Pitch a great lead.  Tailor your query to the specific agency.  Offer a fresh idea.  Be creative in your presentation.  Tighten your query angle.  Sweeten the pot with photos, graphics, illustrations or renderings: with sidebars, sidelights, and giveaways.  Follow the submission guidelines of the agency exactly.  Ensure that your letter begins with an opening hook, provides supporting details, links your qualifications to the book being pitched, and includes a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE).

Book Proposal

Once you have hooked a literary agent with a good query letter, the next step is to send them an outstanding book proposal.

A book proposal is written for one purpose only, to convince an agent that investing their time and effort in you, and your book, is a wise bet, one that will pay off.  To get an agent, then, you have to persuade them that your book is capable of making real money.  If they do not believe that, expect a polite brush off, at best.

Here are a few basics of a good book proposal.  A clear book proposal consist of:

  • a cover page, with the name of your book, and a table of contents;
  • a short description of your book (4 sentences);
  • a more detailed synopsis of your book, with a brief chapter-by-chapter summary;
  • a marketing plan, stating how you will sell and brand your book;
  • an author bio, connecting your occupation and life experiences to the nature of your book;
  • an audience section detailing who will buy your book and why;
  • a competition section differentiating your book from the dozens of other books out there on identical, or similar, topics .
  • a description of follow-up books you are writing in a series, so they can make money from you again and again.

To reiterate, a strong book proposal should have a cover page. The cover page should have:  the name of your book at the top; a by-line with your name; your manuscripts word count; the status of the manuscript (i.e. complete) and a numbered table of contents with the following sections:  I. Description; II. Synopsis; III. Marketing Plan; IV. Author Bio; V. Audience; VI. Competition; VII. Follow-Up Books.

  • On the cover page include your contact information, such as your office and e-mail address, your telephone numbers (i.e. office phone, cell phone, and home phone), so agents can correspond with you by snail-mail; e-mail; by phone; etc..

 

  • The description section is a succinct three sentence description of your book noting its topic and theme. Generally, it attracts an agent’s immediate attention by noting how your topic is timely, original, and significant (i.e. why anybody would care).

 

  • The next section of your book proposal is a more elaborate synopsis of your book which breaks down, in short paragraphs, each major section or chapter. Agents read this part to correlate the theme of your book to a hot topic extant in the real world.  A good synopsis answers the “so what” question to literary agents.  So what?  Why should I read this?

 

  • Then, comes your marketing plan. This section should detail, in bullet form, not only what you have already done to brand your book but what you will do in the future, too. Things to write in this section include participating in professional conferences, preferably as the key-note speaker. Any book signings you have completed or have scheduled.  References to the URL of your personal author website (if you have one) which is stronger if it has:  high-traffic; a blog with high-quality, viral, posts; an online store with a high click through rate; and an impressive CV.  If you have a Face Book fan page connected to your website with thousands of genuine (not purchased) likes, mention this.  If you have a dedicated twitter account linked to your book, especially one that fans are tweeting about incessantly, mention this. If you have a distinguished career connected to the subject matter of your book talk about it.  If you host a radio show, with many listeners, discussing issues related to your book, tell them this. If you have professional, or social, networks in place that you can use to sell your books, highlight this. If you host a popular pod-cast centered on a relevant topic linked to your book, preferably a forum that can reach thousands of subscribers, let an agent know.  In brief, the marketing section of your book proposal is the most important section to literary agents, since they want to pitch a book that will sell quickly and well.  That’s it.  They only care about you and your book if they think they can make money from both.

 

  • Then comes an Author Bio Here is your opportunity to emphasize how your occupation, education, life experiences, and social connections, position you to have written the book(s) you have.  This section should describe why people will listen to you?  Are you an expert in the field?  Do your life experiences qualify you to write about a certain topic?  Why are you credible?  Explain this.

 

  • Then comes a competition section emphasizing how your book is different from, or better than, recent books on the same, or a similar topic. Be careful here.  Emphasize the strengths of your own book, in relation to the marketplace, rather than criticizing the competition. Differentiate your work and convince an agent why it will sell, especially if the topic has already been done, many times over.  If you are in the fortunate position to have written an important book on a topic that is little explored, or underexplored, but also has a large audience, definitely emphasize this. Then pat yourself on the back.  This is rare. If you write a strong competition section that conveys the originality, timeliness, and relevance of your book in relation to what has already been done on the subject, agents and publishers will want to acquire your book.  In short, if your book explores an old topic from a new angle, or pioneers a groundbreaking analysis of a new hot topic, congratulations, you deserve a book deal.  Hope you get one.  If not, go back to the drawing board. Start again.  Maybe, you can get a book deal with your next novel

 

  • Then comes an Audience section detailing who will read your book and why. The wider the audience the more likely agents and publishers will sign you. Since publishing is a risky business, a gamble that produces frequent flops, publishers need to be reassured that your book has a chance of success.  (One friendly word of advice:  be realistic when evaluating your audience. Give specific statistics about who will buy your book and why.  Not vague promises.  Typically, literary agents have built in BS detectors.  So, whatever you do, do not jeopardize your credibility with ridiculous claims.  After all, most literary agents only represent books if they think they will do well in the literary marketplace.  If you make sweeping, unrealistic claims, you can do more harm than good by shooting your credibility).

 

  • After this section comes a follow-up books In this section, outline how other books can flow from, or spin-off of, your proposed book. Since agents want to pitch introductory novels to publishers with the promise of more books to come, it behooves you to pitch your book to agents as part of a larger narrative, so agents do not view your novel as a one-hit wonder, or a no-hit flop.  The truth is that agents are more likely to represent you to traditional publishers if you are able to deliver popular follow-up books. So, if you have written, are writing, or will write follow-up books, speak-up.  Remember, the first billionaire author, J.K. Rawling, wrote 3 Harry Potter books, in trilogy, before she even approached publishers.  Learn from this woman.

 

If all this is too abstract for you, and you want to view a sample of a decent book proposal, please visit my personal author website at www.don-quixote-explained.com and click on the book proposal tab.

 

Marketing Plan

A marketing plan, in short, will tell an agent what you will do to sell your books.  How, put simply, you will attain and maintain readers’ attention.

A well-conceived marketing plan consists of many things.  A lecture circuit helps.  If you have delivered, or will deliver, speeches in prominent forums. Talks that have established you as an expert.  Mention this.  Also, if you have driven around the country, selling your self-published books, like John Grisham did, speak-up.  Agents love hearing that your book is already on store shelves.  If you are a reporter, a journalist, a regular columnist, a magazine editor, or a writing professional, mention that you have a potential network of colleagues you can call on.  Agents want to know how you plan on getting publicity / reviews for your books.  If you have a popular blog, with a high SEO, that is highly ranked by google algorithms and has an impressive click-through rate as well, broadcast this immediately!  If your blog posts have gone viral, or are commented (not spammed) mention this.  Agents are interested in getting people to talk about your book.  If you are ready to put your money where your mouth is by buying your books tell a publisher this.  If publishers believe that their print-runs will be bought by you, that there is no downside risk for them whatsoever, because you yourself will be their main customer, sure, they will publish your book, since they have nothing to lose and the world to gain.  If you are ready to fulfill consignment orders to book stores from your private supply of books, mention this.  It may help.  If possible, tout positive book sales before you even ask a literary agent asking to represent you.  If you can, they will probably sign you.

Write Books in a Series

Big name publishers sign multi-year contracts with writers, not just because they have written one great book, however stellar, but because a writer can consistently produce best sellers, at the rate of one book a year:  Follow-up novels that are as good as, perhaps better, than the original.  In other words, big box publishers often form contracts with writers based on them authoring multiple books in fairly rapid succession.  Thus, if you write one book, then another, then the next, and so on, building a larger and larger audience with every publication, just like John Grisham did, eventually, you will be in the enviable position of having publishers approach you to publish your books, not the other way around.

Meet the Author:

Emre Gurgen, the author of Don Quixote Explained: The Story of an Unconventional Hero, has a Bachelor’s degree in English from Pennsylvania State University. Currently, he lives in Germantown, Maryland, where he is writing a follow-up Don Quixote essay collection and study guide.

Tour Schedule

Tuesday, June 28 – Interviewed at PUYB Virtual Book Club
Wednesday, June 29 – Interviewed at  at I’m Shelf-ish
Thursday, June 30 – Interviewed at Literal Exposure
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Monday, July 4 – Interviewed at The Review From Here
Tuesday, July 5 – Guest blogging at My Bookish Pleasure
Wednesday, July 6 – Guest blogging at Voodoo Princess
Thursday, July 7 – Guest blogging at The Literary Nook
Friday, July 8 – Guest blogging at All Inclusive Retort
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Monday, July 11 – Guest blogging at A Title Wave
Tuesday, July 12 – Interviewed at The Writer’s Life
Friday, July 15 – Guest blogging at As the Page Turns
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Monday, July 18 – Guest blogging at A Taste of My Mind
Tuesday, July 19 –  Guest blogging at Write and Take Flight
Wednesday, July 20 – Guest blogging at Harmonious Publicity
Thursday, July 21 – Interviewed  at Bent Over Bookwords
Friday, July 22 – Guest blogging at The Dark Phantom
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joanJoan Schweighardt is the author of several novels. In addition to her own projects, she writes, ghostwrites and edits for private and corporate clients.

Q: Congratulations on the third release of your latest book, The Last Wife of Attila the Hun. To begin with, can you gives us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?   

A: The book is about a Burgundian noblewoman in 450 a.d. who goes to the City of Attila to give Attila what she believes to be a cursed sword. There are two threads throughout the book, one describing what happens to her in the City of Attila and one illuminating the reasons she went there in the first place.

Q: What do you think makes a good historical novel? Could you narrow it down to the three most important elements? Is it even possible to narrow it down?

A: The Last Wife of Attila the Hun is based on both history and legend, and I think this is probably true of many so called historical novels. The most important element for me, for this particular book, was blending the historical and legendary materials together so that they would feel seamless. The history of Attila contains a catalogue battles, of instances of greed, ego, and extraordinary acts of violence. On the other hand, the legends talk about magic swords and even dragons. So I had to mix these elements in such a way that the reader wouldn’t feel jerked around from one utterly realistic setting to one bordering on fantasy.

With other historical fiction that I’ve worked on, where there were no legends involved, the challenge was to mix historical fact with fictional characters. After you’ve spent hours and hours researching, I think there is a tendency to want to pour all the factual stuff you’ve learned into the novel. My first draft is always too heavy on the historical end, almost like a text book. So when I do second and third and fourth drafts, I try to keep deleting unnecessary details while I simultaneously work on enhancing character and plot.

Last-Wife-ebookcovQ: How did you go about plotting your story? Or did you discover it as you worked on the book?

A The main plot points were there for the taking, in the legendary and historical materials. But it was still no piece of cake. I had to fill in lots of gaps, build lots of bridges. Also, when I wrote the first draft it was in chronological order, which meant that the legendary stuff was for the most part in the first half of the book and the historical stuff was in the second. That didn’t work at all. I had to find a way to weave the legendary and historical materials together, and that took several more drafts.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist and how you developed him or her. Did you do any character interviews or sketches prior to the actual writing?

A: I got my protagonist from the legendary material, not the historical. Very little is known about the “personality” of the last wife of Attila. We only know that at some point near the end of his life Attila married a Germanic woman. I identified this Germanic woman as the Gudrun from the legends. The legends provided elements for the motivation and the plot I would develop to get Gudrun from A to B to C, but they still fell short when it came to her personality, who she was as a woman. That just kind of developed over time as I worked on each draft and began to be able to really imagine her. The story is written in first person, which helps a lot with character development issues. It forces your character to reveal herself.

Q: In the same light, how did you create your antagonist or villain? What steps did you take to make him or her realistic?

A: The history books I researched had all kinds of interesting information about Attila. The Huns and Germanic people didn’t write back then, so most of the stories about Attila came from Roman historians. But, as ruler of half the known world and a man who felt his calling was to take over the other half too, Attila was a hot topic among Roman historians, and I got some really juicy tidbits about his behavior, his relationships with his sons, his relationships with his various wives, his beliefs, his superstitions and of course his battles. It was a real revelation. I knew virtually nothing about him before.

Q: How did you keep your narrative exciting throughout the novel? Could you offer some practical, specific tips?

A: Unlike other novels, where I’ve had to really focus on plot, here I had to focus on what I should leave out of the plot so that the story would not become “congested.” But in general, I try to end chapters with developments that seem surprising or ironic. I say to myself, What’s the least likely thing I would expect to happen here? And then I try to make it happen.

Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?

A: There are descriptions of the great City of Attila in history books, so I was able to draw on that. The other main setting in the book is a rather dilapidated “castle” in a rural area of Europe in 450 a.d. I did research to figure out what life would be like in such a place, how people would bathe, how they would eat, what the inside of their dwellings would look like, etc.

Q: Did you know the theme(s) of your novel from the start or is this something you discovered after completing the first draft? Is this theme(s) recurrent in your other work?

A: I knew what themes were of interest to me when I started, but the great thing about fiction is that when you get done you see that there are other themes that worked their way in, things you didn’t really intend. The writer Susan Sontag once said she wrote to find out what she was thinking. I think this is what she was talking about.

Q: Where does craft end and art begin? Do you think editing can destroy the initial creative thrust of an author?

A: If I never edited my work it would all be garbage. I can’t speak for other writers, but for me craft is essential. I have a few friends who are not only wonderful writers but also very honest in their critiques. I ask them to read early drafts of my work. When you get caught up in the day to day of writing a novel, you can take a wrong turn or get sidetracked by a really boring subplot and not realize it. My three favorite fellow writers are all really different in their approach to writing. So once they each give me feedback, I feel I have the best possible picture of the weaknesses in my work and I can go back to the drawing board assured that the next draft will be better.

Q: What three things, in your opinion, make a successful novelist?

A: I am always surprised by the number of writers who don’t want to go back and polish. Maybe some are geniuses and they don’t have to. But most writers will find that it is impossible to write a really good book without going back over it a number of times. During the first draft you may want to concern yourself mostly with plot. The next draft you may want to work more on character development. The next one you may want to just go through and make sure your characters’ motivations are clear and setting descriptions are solid. Sometimes in my work I make assumptions about motivation; I think because I know why a character is doing something other people will know too. This is one of those areas where the help of other writers/readers has been invaluable to me. So, the three things I believe most writers need to be successful are: draft one, draft two, draft three (and drafts four and five can’t hurt either).

Q: A famous writer once wrote that being an author is like having to do homework for the rest of your life. What do you think about that?

A: Most people would agree that “homework” connotes a task that is given to you by someone other than yourself for the purpose of ascertaining that you’ve learned certain lessons. Writing a book, on the other hand, is a task you’ve generated for yourself, for the purpose of telling a story that is important to you for one reason or another. So no, I don’t think the comparison is apt.

Q: Are there any resources, books, workshops or sites about craft that you’ve found helpful during your writing career?

A: Again, what I’ve found most helpful is insights from fellow writers. These days there are all kind of websites that provide help to writers too. Savvy Authors is one of my favorites, but there are plenty of others. There’s no shortage of ideas out there about how to do anything, whether it’s writing a book or changing out a toilet.

Q:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers about the craft of writing?

A: A lot of young writers who start out writing short stories with the hope that they will write longer works in the future get bogged down by the idea of taking on a huge project. I would like to say to them, Why not try your hand at writing a novel based on history or legend? Maybe you have a time period that interests you, and you can develop it and then tell a story on top of it, so to speak. Or maybe there is a historical character that you’d like to develop a setting around. Or maybe there is a myth or legend that you’d like to bring into modern times. Jane Smiley took the story of King Lear, which is of course best known as a Shakespearian play, and made it her own in her novel A Thousand Acres. What’s really interesting to me is that Shakespeare borrowed his King Lear from a Celtic legend, and the legend likely had some foundation in history.

 

 

 

 

 

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